Iran, nukes and terrorism

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    I'm not sure we get very far by examining the political conflicts in each Arab country.

    Agree, in part. But each country is different from one another, so shouldn't necessarily all be lumped together into the same pot.


    Note, Iran is not a Arab country.

    It is the percentage in each of those segments that differentiate one Arab country from another and these percentages are in a state of change or flux as Western values and lifestyle become, for better or worse, more influential (accelerated in the last decade by the internet).

    Very good points, but its the increasing influence of Western couture (which the internet is helped to spread) that has in part fuelled many of the problems in the Middle East as more traditional, Conservative types become more entrenched in their views which leads some to extremism.


    I think the only hope for the Middle East is the growth of segment (a). More trade between the Middle East and the West, with more cultural exchange and less political or military interference, will encourage the growth of segment (a) and the gradual diminishment of segments (b) and (c). Segment (d) will die out naturally. Segment (e) is presently neutral-relatively harmless but might need to plan for the day when oil become less needed.

    I fully agree with your hope there, but it is just that - hope. It could go the other way with more people turning to hard-line old fashioned views as they see the spread of liberal Western culture amongst their midst and wish to eradicate it.

  • Horizon is right to point out to me that Iran is not an Arab country. It was a lazy generalisation. Truth is I'm weary and bored trying to classify the countries of the Middle East by political identity, historical origin/ancestry, geographical location, main language, religious subgroups, etc. There are softer or more fluid common-denominators or classification factors that predominate over these strict points of difference, such as degree of internal tribal warfare, medieval outlook and values, religious extremism/fanaticism, acceptance versus hostility towards Western values & lifestyle, authoritarian cleric-style rulers versus progressive enlightened ruling. These and other factors all seem to be in a state of flux or development.

  • I fully agree with your hope there, but it is just that - hope. It could go the other way with more people turning to hard-line old fashioned views as they see the spread of liberal Western culture amongst their midst and wish to eradicate it.

    I confess to wishful thinking but still believe my segment (a) represents the future and, if I'm right, it will inevitably embrace or at least tolerate Western values and the other segments will decrease or die out. In that future, an increased degree of secularism will help prevent religious differences and beliefs from becoming fractious.


    Alternatively, if segment (a) isn't the future in the Middle East, then I suspect it's Western equivalent won't be the future in the West either, in which case global order, such as it is, will go into free fall.


    Happy New Year!

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    Horizon is right to point out to me that Iran is not an Arab country. It was a lazy generalisation. Truth is I'm weary and bored trying to classify the countries of the Middle East by political identity, historical origin/ancestry, geographical location, main language, religious subgroups, etc. There are softer or more fluid common-denominators or classification factors that predominate over these strict points of difference, such as degree of internal tribal warfare, medieval outlook and values, religious extremism/fanaticism, acceptance versus hostility towards Western values & lifestyle, authoritarian cleric-style rulers versus progressive enlightened ruling. These and other factors all seem to be in a state of flux or development.

    I wasn't trying to be pedantic there, but it easy for us to put them all in the same pot and view all the people's of the Middle East as the same, which they are not.


    What is the same and I agree, that the whole region is in a state of flux, which has not only affected their region for decades but the whole world too.

    I confess to wishful thinking but still believe my segment (a) represents the future and, if I'm right, it will inevitably embrace or at least tolerate Western values and the other segments will decrease or die out. In that future, an increased degree of secularism will help prevent religious differences and beliefs from becoming fractious.

    The sooner religion dies out the better, in my opinion and I do hope you are right that the medieval ways will give way to more modern thinking and practices. But....


    Alternatively, if segment (a) isn't the future in the Middle East, then I suspect it's Western equivalent won't be the future in the West either, in which case global order, such as it is, will go into free fall.

    TBA - To be announced.


    Western liberalism has dominated the world since WW2. Brexit. Trump. The rise of the far right across Europe. The liberals wanted a global order and they may still get one, but it might not be in the mould of their choosing...


    Happy New Year!

    You too!

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    US President Donald Trump says he will withdraw the US from an Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran.

    Calling it "decaying and rotten", he said the deal was "an embarrassment" to him "as a citizen".

    Going against advice from European allies, he said he would reimpose economic sanctions that were waived when the deal was signed in 2015.

    In response, Iran said it was preparing to restart uranium enrichment, key for making both nuclear energy and weapons.

    Boris made a last ditch attempt the other day to try and persuade the Americans not to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran, but Trump has ignored everyone and ripped the deal up, as far as America goes anyway. Was he right to do so?


    Since the OP, Iran's influence in the Middle East has grown ever more powerful with Iranian backed militants at Israel's border. Tensions are rising in the region even more than "usual."


    As I said in reply to the OP, although I think the agreement is worthwhile keeping, I agree with Trump's point of view too, but sometimes there are only so many issues you can deal with at anyone time, and a nuclear weapon free Iran is better for all.


    What next? The Iranians are going to see what the Europeans do now and I see no reason why the European countries would rip up the deal too, so perhaps this might turn into a good cop, bad cop situation. With Trump playing hard ball against Europe's softer line, this eventually might persuade Iran to ease its support for its terrorist proxies, or not.

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    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US is imposing the "strongest sanctions in history" on Iran.


    In a speech in Washington, America's top diplomat said Iran would be "battling to keep its economy alive" after the sanctions took effect.

    He said he would work closely with the Pentagon and reg

    Looks like the Americans are serious about this. I still think a nuclear free Iran is a higher priority that all the other issues the West has with Iran and its region wide war making and destabilisation efforts.

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    The Trump administration is to reinstate all US sanctions on Iran removed under the 2015 nuclear deal.

    The White House said it was "the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed" on Tehran. It targets both Iran and states that trade with it.

    However, temporary waivers will be granted to eight countries to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil.

    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the move "disgraced" US prestige and liberal democracy

    It's somewhat ironic that the autocratic, undemocratic, ayatollah talks about liberal democracy, perhaps he's starting to fancy a bit of that for his own country. Not!!


    I still think this move by Trump is a mistake. The deal isn't perfect, but it restrains Iran's nuclear activities which has always got to be the highest priority over every other grievance with the country. However, Iran spreads terrorism and death all throughout the Middle East and this needs to be challenged too and I reckon Trump will do just that.

  • The deal/bribe to Iran to restrain their nuclear activities has not worked. Iran knows all about the West's so-called red lines, especially Obama's.


    It needs to be understood that Iran is now the country that not only has become the most powerful player is the Middle East but also the most intent on spreading Islam worldwide.


    If America doesn't stop Iran's nuclear development, Israel will. If neither of them do, then Saudi Arabia will pursue nuclear developments, financed out of their petty cash and will be entirely justified in doing so, certainly in their own minds if not in the floppy minds of those in the West who "think" it is a mistake and that red lines and sanctions will do the trick.


    For almost 100 years there has been hardly anyone in the West who understands the utter futility in trying to persuade Islam to live and let live and co-exist with Judaeo-Christianity or even those with no religious beliefs.


    For the last 100 years Islam has grown into the single biggest obstacle to world order and this is no longer a threat, the body count is rising in the Middle East and those who think it can and be contained in the region are out of their tiny mind.


    Those millions in the West who thinks Islam today is enough of a religion to pay it respect and exercise liberal-minded tolerance are dangerous fools who will ultimately have contributed to the defeat of he West.


    We seem to have reached a stage where anyone writing or voicing these thoughts is considered a crackpot, racist, scaremonger or with a political outlook that falls to the right of Attilla the Hun.


    Trump's decision is the very opposite of political and diplomatic sophistry. He has a lot of faults but that certainly isn't one of them

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    In terms of military power in the Middle East, Israel is the real power. The others aren't even close and don't forget Israel has nuclear weapons, not that they've ever officially admitted it.


    The country spreading Islam all around the world, the Wahhabi variant, is Saudi Arabia not Iran.


    I don't agree that Islam as a religion is the specific problem here. The specific problem is extremist Islamic countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia spreading terrorism and death everywhere.


    I do not think the Americans should've ripped up this deal, but I do agree that Iran needs to be held account for its wider actions in the region, or otherwise this will only lead to wider conflict with the exact neighbours you mentioned.

  • Have you any idea how long nuclear negotiations with Iran have been going on wit America and permanent members of the UN Security Council and how many agreements have been ignored and how many red lines have not been acted upon. The so-called deal to which you refer, in spite of all its modifications and concessions made by America, was rendered void by Iran, not America. Here's an example of "progress": Negotiations started in 2003 when Iran had 130 centrifuges. Today they have about 19,000. Uranium enrichment was negotiated down to just 5% (which the West were proud to have achieved) but from that base it is easily enriched into to nuclear weaponry in just a few months. You might find that background useful in reconsidering your proposal that "I do not think the Americans should've ripped up this deal".


    As for counting who has the biggest nuclear weaponry, that really is beside the point when dealing with a country of mad buggers (or if you want to make that sound more erudite, religious fanatics).


    By contrast, Saudi Arabia is playing a much longer game, content to let the mad buggers ride point, while Saudi surreptitiously bankrolls various pockets of terrorism, all of which keeps the oil-hungry, arms-selling West in a state of anxiety and careful diplomacy, constantly seeking alliances which, when tested against pressing realities, are worth spit.


    Pre-Khomenie, Iran was moderately sane, forming alliances and respecting the sovereignty of other nations. In other words, pursuing their aims in a Westphalian manner. Coupled with that is Iran's Persian Empire heritage - the trouble is that the glory of old Persian Empire habits die hard, so that Iran still seeks to eliminate or conquer surrounding countries and become top dog in the Middle East. It's the third characterisation of Iran which is most prevalent and nightmarish today: : it is "Jihad Iran" which manifests itself by traansforming a country into a cause, viz the world-conquering ascendancy of Islam.


    In 2014, the Iranian Supreme Leader officially described the nuclear negotiations as follows:


    ".... we have no option but to continue combat to rule all of Iran's domestic and foreign affairs. Those who promote concessions are committing treason. All officials in Iran should be aware they are fighting and continuing the combat for the establishment and survival of the Islamic system ..... Jihad is never-ending because Satan and the Satanic front will exist externally".


    Against that background I'd be fascinated to know how you suggest Iran be "held to account for its wider actions and its stated intentions"

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    UAE says it will show restraint after tanker attacks, Iran's behavior a concern

    DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates will show restraint after attacks on oil tankers off its coast and is committed to de-escalation during a “difficult situation” caused by Iranian behavior in the region, a senior official said on Wednesday.

    Trump deployed a aircraft carrier to the gulf last week. The Americans are pulling their people out of neighbouring countries to Iran, especially Iraq and yesterday the Iranians attacked a UAE tanker.


    I disagreed with Trump about tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran. Keeping Iran and its nuclear ambitions under control should've been top priority, but there's no denying that Iranian backed parties spread death and chaos across the whole region and this needs to be stood up against.


    Are we nearing the time when the American's patience with Iran finally wears out and Trump orders an attack against the regime?

  • I have no doubt in my mind that Trump is just itching to have a war/military campaign during his tenure at the Whitehouse, he is no doubt one of the politician types who believe that initiating a war/military campaign during their time in office is the sign of a great statesman.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • The sad truth is that Europe hasn't the strength to protect itself from Islam terrorism and the even sadder truth is that it lacks the courage and sense of reality to stand alongside the US. Britain's diplomacy is just a displacement activity for timidity and procrastination. The rest of Europe, thanks to the EU, the time, money, willpower, firepower, cohesion, confidence and breadth of vision beyond their new backyard (EU) to recognise a bigger global picture than just anti-Americanism. It isn't useful to try and analyse and focus on countries or tribes within the Middle East or Islam generally who happen to be “the threat of the month”. Amidst Islam’s internal deadly squabbles the West remains the common enemy, the infidels, the countries that one day will fall to the ascendance of Islam.


    Deep down America knows that the world is now too small, the military capabilities more far reaching and within striking distance, while terrorism or guerrilla warfare a terrible uncontrollable equaliser, and world disorder worse than it has ever been. So America can't be indefinitely insular and disengage from these threats, in spite of being unsupported, reviled or snubbed by Europe. America knows that in the long run the East-West schism and the Islamic ascendancy could overthrow what passes today for global equilibrium.


    The very idea held in Europe of trying to keep Islam at bay by expecting America to keep shovelling billion into Iran in the hope that Iran won't build up their nuclear capabilities is politically moronic and financially hypocritical.


    In the context of the above I think a preoccupation with the personality of Donald Trump is Lilliputianal.

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    I have no doubt in my mind that Trump is just itching to have a war/military campaign during his tenure at the Whitehouse, he is no doubt one of the politician types who believe that initiating a war/military campaign during their time in office is the sign of a great statesman.

    He's always said the opposite Ron, so we'll see. But Trump has uber hawk John Bolton in his team, who is very keen to blow the hell out of Iran.

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    I agree with most of that, but Iran was keeping its side of the nuclear deal.


    Iran is spreading death and chaos across the region through its proxies, so is no innocent player here, but what is more important, dealing with Iran's militias who threaten Israel or keeping their nuclear ambitions under control? I say nuclear comes first, always.


    Interestingly, Andrew Neil made a comment on This Week and said he was in the region last week and said that the tankers that were attacked by Iran did not contain any fuel and this was Iran essentially sending a message that they have the capabilities to disrupt the world's oil supply if they choose to do so. A very dangerous way to send a message...


    I think Iran needs to be stood up to, so I agree with Trump in that sense, but not at the expense of the nuclear deal which now seems dead in the water.

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    Iran lacking cash to fund terror groups, domestic cyber agency short of funds, declassified intel shows

    Newly declassified intelligence shows that Palestinian terror group Hamas had to introduce “austerity plans” due to lack of funding from the Iranian regime.

    State Department officials say the intelligence that was shared exclusively with Fox News reveals Tehran’s diminishing resources and influence within the region, prompting cutbacks among groups backed by the regime.

    This comes amid a tough sanctions regime introduced by the U.S., which sent the country into a recession, with inflation topping 50 percent.

    This very interesting report from Fox News on Friday shows the Iranian regime is teething on the edge and is perhaps why Trump tore up the nuclear deal. Not because he didn't think the Iranians were keeping to it, but he wanted an excuse to impose more sanctions on them and squeeze them into suffocation.

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